glove of the fox

foxglove inside flower

inside the flower of foxglove


the flower that fits over a human finger

fairy folks fingers

bloody fingers

lambs tongue leaves

deadman’ bells

witches’ gloves

Digitalis purpurea

The Foxglove pug, a moth larva, (yellowish-green with purplish markings) seals the mouth of the flower shut with silk, and feeds inside on the reproductive organs.

Lepidoptera eat the leaves, the Lesser Yellow Underwing.

White foxglove close up

active and important constituents: digitoxin, digitalin, digitalein and digitonin.

digitoxin is the most powerful, and very poisonous.

digitonin is a cardiac depressant.

the group of medicines extracted from foxglove plants are called Digitalin.

The common foxglove is extremely useful in treating heart conditions, to increase cardiac contractility and as an antiarrhythmic agent to control the heart rate, particularly in irregular (and often fast) atrial fibrillation.

The constituents of foxglove increase the activity of the heart, arterioles and other muscle tissue. An initial dose can raise blood pressure considerably but a moderate dose can slow the pulse and cause an irregular pulse to become normal.

Common foxglove can also be used as a diuretic for the kidneys, for epilepsy, internal bleeding and inflammatory disease. In homeopathy, it is is also used for depression, migraine and insomnia.

common foxglove flower opened

The entire plant is toxic, including the roots and seeds, although the leaves of the upper stem are particularly potent, enough to potentially cause death.

Early symptoms of ingestion include nausea, abdominal pain, delirium, hallucinations and severe headache. Depending on the severity of the toxicosis the victim may later suffer irregular and slow pulse, tremors, various cerebral disturbances, especially of a visual nature (unusual colour visions with objects appearing yellowish to green, and blue halos around lights),convulsions and deadly disturbances of the heart.

White Foxglove flower opened

There have been instances of people confusing digitalis with the relatively harmless Comfrey plant (which is often brewed into a tea) with fatal consequences. Other fatal accidents involve children drinking the water in a vase containing digitalis plants.  The plant is toxic to animals.

Digitalis poisoning can cause heart block and either decreased heart rate or increased heart rate, depending on the dose and the condition of one’s heart.

common foxglove opened flower

so i looked up into the flower ‘finger’ mesmerised
imagining what the bee’s world is
all that pattern, meticulous ordering and layout of space and colour
exquisite light passing through the florescence.


i take a flower and place it upside down
tear it gently along the top, the underside of the flower
and open it
there, the structure and contents
eggs, ovaries, stamen
like some kind of palace, throne seating,
something to look at, to study and approach


only afterwards did i read about the digitalis and it’s qualities.
i had those poisonous green leaves under my fingernails,
with no idea of the physical potency,
only aesthetic entrancement.


foxglove inside flower

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